The HISD is partnering with Houston Community College and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions.
Dean Dr. Shirley Richmond says the program will almost be able to catch up to the big void of unfilled positions in the medical field.
“It’s an easy sell, in that everyone knows that there are jobs in the health care field. And we’re on the clinical laboratory science side and the radiological science side, and there’s predicted by 2020, there’s a 17% vacancy in the job workforce for the radiation therapy and about a 15% in the clinical laboratory science side. So there will be jobs in healthcare forever.”
Students enrolled in the program will be exposed to career fields in clinical laboratory science, diagnostic imaging, molecular genetic technology, radiation therapy and others.
HISD Superintendent Dr Terry Grier says the program provides a direct pipeline for students into the Texas Medical Center. He says some may ask:
“Why Westside? Interesting thing about technology. Technology doesn’t understand this concept of distance. Technology is right here and it’s right now. And so, our intention full intention is to offer many of these general education courses online. That’s exciting. That’s the wave of the future.”
Westside Principal Peggi Stewart says the program will allow students time to decide what kind of career in the medical industry to get into.
“A lot of kids, they’re thinking, ‘I want to be a doctor. I want to be a vet.’ But what they don’t know is the hundreds of different types of careers that are available to them without having to become a doctor. And so sometime what happens, somewhere along the way, they think, ‘You know, I don’t think I want to be a doctor after all.’ And so, that’s our responsibility, is to teach them about all the different fields that are out there.”
Hernandez: “What a big door that’s opening.”
Stewart: “Oh major and I could not be more excited as the principal of Westside High School, to be a huge part of that.”
The program, scheduled to start in the Spring of 2014, will allow students to earn college credit while they get their high school diploma. It will also give them hands-on work opportunities.